This year’s World Breastfeeding Week topic is Breastfeeding and Work, Let’s Make it Work. I thought I would share some thoughts as a breastfeeding working mom.
Working Mom Breastfeeding Essentials – Before returning to work
Know your rights. Your workplace is required to provide a private space for mothers to pump as well as the break time to do so. Check out this tear sheet with details from the Fair Labor Standard Act.
Visit your workplace prior to the end of your maternity leave and scope out the available space for expressing breast milk. Find out if your office has lactation rooms with available pumps or if you will need to order a pump and bring your own. Find out where the refrigerator is as you will be storing expressed breast milk during the day. Will you need to wash your pump attachments in the bathroom, or is there a break room available? Are there any shortcuts you can plan to make your time pumping easier?
Pack your pumping bag and do a dry run practice at home. Does your bag have everything you need? Do you know how to operate your pump and quickly put together the attachments?
Breastfeeding Essentials at Home
In no particular order, here is a list of items you will need while home with your baby during maternity leave and otherwise.
- A nursing pillow. I prefer the Boppy brand because it is easy to use (and the baby can use it later for sitting up). Many prefer the My Brest Friend, but I found that it is flat and if I lean forward a little, the baby tries to roll off.
- Burp cloths or receiving blankets to use for wiping spills. Because baby unlatches and mama leaks. Also good for spit-up.
- Nursing bras. There are so many options to choose from, just be sure it fits well and is comfortable.
- Nursing pads, because, again, mama leaks.
- Also, nursing tops so you don’t have to pull up your shirt and expose half your body each time you feed your baby. It is easier to just pull down or unsnap a corner of a shirt or tank.
- Nipple cream or coconut oil for the cracked and abused girls.
- Other creature comforts: water, a comfortable place to sit/recline, entertainment cause you’ll be sitting a while.
- Support, obviously, from family and friends. Find a good Lactation Consultant and local support group.
Pumping Essentials when Returning to Work
I previously shared the items I have in my own pumping bag, but this list below has more detail on some items.
- A pump, and all the attachments that go with it – or attachments to the hospital-grade pump if available at your office. You should be able to get health insurance to pay for a pump.
- Breast milk storage bottles and freezer bags if you plan on collecting a stash before returning to work.
- Regular feeding bottles, or you can use the storage bottles and get an attachment.
- A cooler to store your expressed breast milk in the fridge at work and transport it home.
- A hands-free pumping bra so you don’t have to hold the pump parts up to yourself.
What are some of your working mom essentials for breastfeeding and pumping at work? Do share lessons learned from your experience and other useful information.